In the bank we found out a lot. Now I could say with relief that we were ending the case.
Choi Seoyun had a safe and to get to it, we had to write the password. We were sure about that one and wrote 3rd of July. It was correct.
However, that was the big safe – the one with a huge round door. Behind that door began the challenge. We walked into the circular hall with A LOT of lockers. But we didn’t give up. We had the last two numbers, right? So we checked the locker number six.
It was empty.
“That’s it?” Mr. Lee said surprised. He searched thoroughly the locker, but in the end found nothing.
“Are we in the dead end again?” Heejun sighed.
“It’s not like we were sure that we solved it,” Youjin reminded him.
“Yeah, but –”
While they were arguing, I was thinking hard where we made a mistake. I was walking and observing lockers one by one. Grumpy and Mr. Lee were following my every step. I was irritated enough that we didn’t find anything more, so it irritated me even more.
“Could you please stop?” I said angrily. “I’m trying to concentrate.”
“Yes, yes,” Mr. Lee said. “Concentrate.”
“We’re trying to help you,” Grumpy added.
“It’s funny that you call this helping. Could you go to the other side and find something abnormal enough to suspect the locker?”
“Right. We’re going,” Grumpy agreed.
I wondered (not for the first time) how he became a detective.
I didn’t find anything and came back disappointed to the beginning. I left the number six and checked locker number seven. Everyone moved away from me, as if there was a bomb inside. Well, I wouldn’t be surprised. However, this locker was empty too.
But wait. Not exactly empty.
I took out a piece of paper. There was very decorative writing and it possibly belonged to Choi Seoyun.
IF YOU WANT IT, THINK WITHOUT THINKING.
“A riddle,” I said. “Great. Couldn’t be better.”
“Think without thinking...” Heejun clapped his hands. “Instinct! We shouldn’t think in which locker something is hidden, but we need to rely on our instinct!”
As expected of Heejunnie. He started to play with the lockers. From enumerations, to guessing. After a few minutes, he screamed with excitation.
“Hyung, hyung! I got it! I think...” He pulled me to the locker number six. “This could be a misleading!”
“Misleading?” we all repeated surprised.
“Only the date was clear, right? Okay, not so clear, we had to know if it was 7th of March or 3rd of July and –”
“Let’s get to the point, Heejun-ah,” I said.
“The locker six is correct, looking at the paper with numbers, but for what was number seven? Let’s count.” He touched the locker with number six and counted to seven, moving his finger with it. He stopped at ‘seven’ and showed us an unnumbered locker. “I think it’s this one.”
I put the key in the lock and turned it. It opened without a problem. We screamed shocked and moved back a little. Mr. Lee was too surprised to even budge.
Inside the unnumbered locker was a mountain of gold bars. My mind couldn’t grasp how much KRW it was. Anyway, we weren’t shocked much longer, because Grumpy called reinforcement to secure the locker and we went out.
“That was... practical,” Inseong said.
“We solved the mystery behind the numbers. Now we need to catch that bastard and you’ll live your life again,” Grumpy stated.
“Thank you, detective,” I said.
“Don’t thank me yet, kiddo. I would feel horrible, if it turns out that you said it too soon.”
We had peace for two days. That was why we came back to our activities and for a moment forgot about the case. We were reminded by it unexpectedly.
We were in a cafe, legally having a coffee and a bread (guess who ordered it. I’ll wink to you, if you guess it right). Meanwhile we were looking through gifts from fans. We got some cards, mascots and snacks. We were going to continue our coffee, but Seungjun found fruit milk in one of the bags.
“It says ‘be always healthy’,” Seungjun read.
“We’ll be,” I said and took the milk, giving everyone their favorite flavor. “For Heejunnie banana, for Seungjunnie-hyung strawberry, for me coffee of course.” I looked at the rest. “Inseong-hyung, do you want watermelon flavor?”
“And what do we do about Youjin-hyung?” I showed him another banana milk. “Will you drink it?”
“We aren’t singing today, so I can taste a little,” he said and I gave him the milk.
I started to drink first, as members were occupied by a funny card, addressed to Seungjun. I stopped after a small sip. It tasted weird... I looked at the bottle. Was it expired?
Suddenly I felt a terrible pain in my throat. I realized too late what just happened, but thankfully I reacted fast and threw myself on the table, knocking the milk from the hands of members.
“Don’t drink it!!” I whispered with a hoarse voice.
“Jihun-ah, what’s –”
Then I coughed blood. Members panicked and caught me, before I fell down. They called the ambulance and our manager right away and thanks to that I was saved. In the hospital we were told that in the milk was a strong disinfectant, and the police confirmed that other bottles also had it. I had unpleasant gastric lavage and a lot of medicaments for my throat to drink and put on a skin. My voice wasn’t destroyed and I was really happy because of that. I didn’t know what I would do, if I couldn’t sing anymore. I just needed to take care of my throat and I’ll recover.
As nothing more we could do for me in the hospital, I was transported to our dorm by an ambulance. I was with manager, Heejun and Youjin. Inseong and Seungjun were in Grumpy’s car.
“It’s really bad,” I heard Heejun, who was still strongly shaken. “H-He seriously wanted to kill us, right? And he almost did it! To Jihunnie-hyung he –”
“Calm down,” Youjin muttered. He was pale and tried to calm down himself, but I noticed from his expression that he was close to tears.
I wanted to say something too, in a whisper, but suddenly something hit the ambulance and we bump into each other. We hugged, protecting each other, as the car rolled over. When everything was over, I coughed, but still felt the pain. I shook my head confused. My vision came back to normal.
After a few seconds, which was at least like an hour for me, the door opened and someone came in. Heejun, Youjin, manager, and the hospital staff were unconscious, or semiconscious, so I wanted to ask for help, when suddenly my eyes were covered by a bag and I fainted, after something hit me in the head.